Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Refrigerators

    Albuquerque bands had always been cover bands, the proverbial human jukebox, grinding out the hits at local dives.  Once in a while a band would put out  an original single or sneak in an original song into their set. But for a band to try and make it playing mostly original music was unheard of.   So when The Refrigerators put out an album of original material in 1981, it was almost revolutionary. Avoiding the bar band boogie that was the trademark of local cover bands, their self penned tunes gave the audience something new that they could dance to.  
    The Refrigerators were edgy enough to turn heads, but not so weird that people were turned off. Lead singer Burton Jespersen  was a follower of the early Elvis Costello/Joe Jackson school of spastic nerd cool. Billy Platt and Mox Montoya formed a solid rythym section, Montoya's drums and timing were the foundation for the group's "new wave" ambitions.  Guitar players Dennis Dillon and Rick Thompson also pitched in as vocalists and songwriters. It was Thompson who wrote the group's most recognized song "Dawn Patrol".
    Originally from Taos, the group would build a sizeable following not just in Albuquerque but around the southwest.  Unfortunately the momentum created by the album wasn't enough and by 1982 Jespersen was gone, while the remaining members regrouped as the Magnetixs and continued to play around Albuquerque.
Mox Montoya would go on to join the Strawberry Zots, but he left that group before they were signed by RCA.  In retrospect, The Refrigerators helped kick start the local rock music scene, ushering in a new era of  DIY spirit that forever changed the face of Albuquerque and Santa Fe's musical landscape.

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